Charity Scams Don't Rest For Holidays

Charity Scams Don't Rest For Holidays

Chloe Seaman
November 1, 2017

We saw an influx of charity scams recently in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the Las Vegas massacre and the California wildfires.

Now we’re approaching the holidays—a prime time for this type of scam to strike again.

Before donating to any charity, be aware of the signs of a scam and how to protect yourself and your donation:

1. They Use Pressure Tactics To Make You Hand Over Money…Fast!

Conning charities try to get you to donate immediately, without giving you time to research them. They might also refuse to tell you the details: its mission, identity, cost or how your donation will be used.

Protect yourself by… investigating the charity’s website. There’s a lot you can determine by doing research. A great place to start is the website of the charity you intend to give to. Most legitimate charities’ web addresses typically end in .org – not .com. You can also rule out any website that asks for your sensitive personal information like a social security number as this indicate a scam.

2. They Ask You To Wire Money

Scam artists favor money wires because once the money is sent it is typically irretrievable and very difficult to trace.

Protect yourself by… watching out for overseas requests. Any organization asking you to send money overseas is a scam.

3. They Thank You For A Donation You Didn’t Make

Received an email from a “charity” thanking you for making a donation? Watch out.

Protect yourself by… not opening email attachments. Real emails from real charity organizations will not typically include attachments. Opening an attachment from an unsolicited email may lead to a computer virus or ransomware.

4. They Claim To Be A Victim

In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting last month, Nevada Attorney General, Adam Laxalt warned those wishing to make a donation that many illegitimate GoFundMe accounts were trying to profit from the tragedy. This is a common tactic of scammers.

Protect yourself by… staying cautious of people claiming to be victims. Reach out to the campaign organizer of a fundraiser directly. Also, do not make checks payable to individuals, nor give out credit card, bank account or social security number information.

5. They’re On Social Media, Too

The prevalence of fake news on social media continues to pose a real threat to the public. This includes the abundance of fake charities that con artists set up on social media channels to attract compassionate donators.

Protect yourself by… being selective with your social media engagement and who you provide with your email address. Scammers try to collect your information by getting you to give away your email address, perhaps unintentionally, online. If you do a survey on social media or sign a petition online, be aware as to what organization is behind it. There are numerous ways that your email address can fall into the hands of a scammer – who can later solicit you with fake charity emails – without realizing it.

Your decision to donate to a charity is generous and surely very appreciated by the recipients. Just make sure it isn’t going into the hands of a real-life Grinch.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.